A federal grand jury indicted a 24-year-old Bothell resident April 12 on three counts of traveling for sex with a minor and one count of production of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes in a news release.
Thomas Mahoney faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted. Mahoney was arrested on state charges in October 2017, and was transferred to federal custody last month. His arraignment on the indictment will be scheduled later this month.
According to records filed in the case, Facebook notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about sexual conversations and photos being exchanged between an adult and child over its network. The information was provided to law enforcement in California where the young victim was located, and to the Seattle Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, which traced the internet address to Mahoney.
Law enforcement served a court authorized search warrant on Mahoney’s residence and obtained his electronic devices for analysis. Travel records confirm information from the victim that Mahoney traveled to California three times in 2016 and 2017 to have sex with the victim. The victim was 12 years-old when Mahoney ‘friended’ the victim on Facebook and was 14 years-old when Mahoney initiated sex. Mahoney allegedly made videos of the sexual contact, thereby producing child pornography.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in coordination with the Seattle Police Department and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Contra County California District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department are key partners in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson, with assistance from Assistant United States Attorney Christina McCall of the Northern District of California. Gregson is a Senior King County Deputy Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute child exploitation crimes in federal court.